POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: Mike Bennett speaks about WWE release

Originally published at POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: Mike Bennett speaks about WWE release


**The series finale of Thunderstruck was released today as I joined WH Park to discuss the retirement week of Jushin Thunder Liger from January. On this 26th and final show, we chatted about Liger’s career and influence, the match selections for both nights of Wrestle Kingdom, who was chosen, the reaction inside Tokyo Dome, and the retirement ceremony at Ota Ward Gymnasium at New Year Dash. Plus, WH announced what his next podcast series will focus on.

**Davie Portman has a review of Saturday’s MLW Fusion from the tapings in Tijuana with Tom Lawlor & Dominic Garrini taking on Puma King & Xtreme Tigre in the main event.

**This week’s release of The Rocky Maivia Picture Show covers Journey 2: The Mysterious Island starring Dwayne Johnson. Nate Milton is joined by ‘Our Man’ Neal Flanagan, who was one of the contributors to the Café GRANDE Hangout that got to join Nate for the show.

**We have also released a new shirt for The Rocky Maivia Picture Show that is available now in the POST Wrestling Store.

**Friday’s edition of Rewind-A-SmackDown features a free 40+ minute news segment covering the WWE’s schedule changing yet again, the passing of Howard Finkel, the demise of the XFL, AEW & NXT numbers, and the latest names that were part of the cuts and furloughs this week. For Café members, the full version of the show includes our review of SmackDown and the Dark Side of the Ring episode covering the death of Nancy Argentino with a 30-minute review.

**Wai Ting and I will be back Monday night with Rewind-A-Raw.




**Louis Dangoor of WrestleTalk had the chance to speak with Mike Bennett following his release this past week. Bennett spoke about both himself and wife Maria being released at the same time while she is on maternity leave.

So, I mean in the sense that in my head it was always like if there is going to be releases, it’s probably going to be me and probably going to be my wife, just because my wife has been out on maternity leave and they were doing anything with me. I had already asked for my release in the past, but we did work things out after that. I didn’t want it to happen during a pandemic. I think that’s a hard thing to explain to people, not to go off topic, but there are a lot of people who are like “well he did ask his release”, which I did, but my wife never did and I want to get that clear, my wife was happy to stay there. But it’s like, you thinking’s the back of your head, yes I did ask for my release, but no one wants to be released in the middle of a pandemic. You ask for your release when you think you can go and do other things. I asked for my release because I wasn’t working and I wanted to work.

Bennett also shared how he was informed of the news, which followed Vince McMahon’s video message that was distributed to those, not on the call:

We got a video sent to us from the boss telling us they were going to start laying people off and they would call you if you were one of them. When we got that video I looked at Maria and was like “oh yeah, let’s get ready” Kind of jokingly I was like “its us, it’s going to happen” We both kinda knew it and then an hour later we got a call from Mark Corano who is Head of Talent relations, he was another guy who was super good to me, and I have nothing bad to say. It was one of the things I said to him on the phone, “I wish went a little bit different than it did, but I’m not going to yell and scream at you because you guys gave me a fun three years and then they called my wife. They are not going to tell me to tell my wife. Mark has known my wife longer than he has known me. He adores my wife and she adores him. We both kinda knew it was happening but there’s always that small hope in the back of my head where I was like “just release one of us. Just hold on to someone else”

**Kassius Ohno (Chris Spradlin) was among this week’s WWE cuts and furloughs as first reported by The Wrestling Observer Newsletter and it was also told to me that he was among those affected. Ohno, 40, was on his second run with the company after first working for WWE from 2011-13.

After leaving WWE the first time, he had an incredible independent run where he went all over the world and hitting the European scene as it was rising in stature. In North America, he became a big presence in the ‘FloSlam era’ as I would call it where you were able to watch a lot more companies in one place through the ill-fated streaming service that eventually crashed and died. Ohno returned to WWE and appeared on camera over Royal Rumble weekend in 2017. He was placed in NXT and in the role of the veteran that was working with younger talent. Over the past year, he had become more involved on the NXT UK side in a similar position.

To me, he would have been at the top of my list among talent to pair with Tom Phillips to call NXT with the regular broadcasters unavailable during this empty arena phase.

**The following names were removed from the WWE Performance Center website and would indicate they are no longer under deals: Mohamed Fahim (real name Mohamed Abdelfattah), Marcos Gomes, Faisal Kurdi, Edgar Lopez, Hussain Aldagal, and Yifeng.

**On Sunday, Global Tag League winners El Hijo de Dr. Wagner Jr. & Rene Dupree became the new GHC tag champions defeating Naomichi Marufuji & Masaaki Mochizuki in front of no fans at the NOAH studio where they are running shows. Marufuji & Mochizuki had held the titles since January 5th.

Wagner & Dupree defeated Go Shiosaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima on Saturday in the Global Tag League final to earn the title shot on Sunday.

On today’s show, Kotaro Suzuki won the GHC junior heavyweight title from Yoshinari Ogawa, who had held the title since January 4th.

The full results from Sunday’s show are below:
*Atsushi Kotoge and Tadasuke went to a 15:00 draw
*Takashi Sugiura over Rocky Kawamura by count-out
*Hayata & Yo-Hey over Hajime Ohara & Seiki Yoshioka to retain the GHC junior heavyweight tag titles
*Kenou, Masa Kitamiya, Haoh, Nioh, Manabu Soya & Yoshiki Inamura over Go Shiosaki, Katsuhiko Nakajima, Mohammed Yone, Shuhei Taniguchi, Daisuke Harada & Kinya Okada
*Keiji Muto, Minoru Tanaka & Kaito Kiyomiya over Kazushi Sakuraba, Hideki Suzuki & Hideki Sekine
*Kotaro Suzuki over Yoshinari Ogawa to win the GHC junior heavyweight tag titles
*El Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr. & Rene Dupree over Naomichi Marufuji & Masaaki Mochizuki to win the GHC tag titles

**Tonight at 7 pm Eastern, the NWA is streaming the full Crockett Cup 2019 pay-per-view on their YouTube channel. The card was headlined by Nick Aldis vs. Marty Scurll for the NWA championship along with the tag tournament.

**Dick Steinborn passed away on Saturday at the age of 86. He wrestled for over thirty years beginning his career in 1951 at age 17. Steinborn was the son of Milo Steinborn, who was also a wrestler. He teamed with George Becker winning the NWA Mid-Atlantic Southern tag titles on two occasions in 1957 with the first title win coming against Ivan Bornov & Karol Fozoff. Steinborn’s career took him to Georgia, Florida, Texas, Stampede Wrestling, and Puerto Rico among his many territories he worked through the mid-’80s when he retired.

While working for the AWA, he won the promotion’s tag titles alongside Doug Gilbert in December 1962 from Ivan & Karol Kalmikoff in St. Paul, Minnesota.

In Calgary, he became Stampede’s first Mid-Heavyweight champion in 1979 and lost it to Bruce Hart that same year. He regained the title in June 1980 from Dynamite Kid and dropped it one final time to Keith Hart. For the World Wrestling Council (WWC) in Puerto Rico, he was a three-time junior heavyweight champion where he feuded over the title with Carlos Colon, Les Thornton, and lost the final time to Jerry Brisco in April 1982.

**SLAM Wrestling’s Greg Oliver has a big obit on Kevin “Zebra Kid” Clark, who passed away on Friday after suffering from esophageal cancer and had stopped pursuing treatment. He was a big fan attending wrestling matches at the Marigold Arena in Chicago and seeking autographs from the various wrestlers. His mentor was wrestler Bob Sabre and helped break Clark into the business in 1975. Clark wrestled under the names Jackie Stevens and Kevin Clayton before adopting ‘Zebra the Kid’ and later just ‘Zebra Kid’, which the second version after George Bollas.

**AEW released a preview of this week’s ‘Road to’ video where Dustin Rhodes announces that he will retire if he cannot beat Kip Sabian in the TNT Championship tournament this Wednesday. They have also added that Matt Hardy will be featured on Dynamite with footage from the Hardy Compound. The show will also feature Sammy Guevara vs. Darby Allin in the other TNT Championship quarterfinal, Orange Cassidy vs. Jimmy Havoc, and individual matches involving Kenny Omega, Wardlow, and Brodie Lee.

**FS1 will be running five hours of WWE programming this Tuesday including a new episode of WWE Backstage. Below is the schedule:
*7 pm Eastern – Becky Lynch’s Most Memorable Matches
*8 pm – WWE 24: Revolutionary – The Year of Ronda Rousey
*9 pm – Charlotte Flair’s Most Memorable Matches
*10 pm – WWE 24: Becky Lynch – The Man
*11 pm – WWE Backstage with a panel of Renee Young, Ember Moon, Paige, and Beth Phoenix

**After the release of Curt Hawkins (Brian Myers), his wife Liz wrote a blog post about this week’s news. She noted she had left her job in advertising last year to work on her photography and be a stay at home Mom. She also noted that she is 30 weeks pregnant and the anxiety that comes with a job loss in the current economy and how well it was handled by Brian.

**Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder did their ‘Live Five’ show that was initially scheduled for WrestleMania Weekend. The remote broadcast featured appearances by The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Chelsea Green, Hornswoggle, Colt Cabana, Sam Roberts, and others as well as a graphic for Howard Finkel at the start:


**Nolan King at MMA Junkie has a report on topics covered during Dana White’s call with fighters on Friday to discuss their plans during the pandemic. According to the outlet:
*White reiterated that no one had to fight if they didn’t feel safe and they would not place any pressure to fight.
*They are keeping the locations secret but plan on running weekly cards beginning Saturday, May 9th.
*A priority is getting the UFC Apex and Performance Institute up and running but unsure when they can stage fights in Nevada
*The fighters that have already missed scheduled fights will have a higher priority when booking new fights
*It is possible cornermen may be reduced to keep numbers down but it is ‘fluid’
*International Fight Week in July is ‘doubtful’, and I would guess that’s being generous to even entertain the idea of anything involving fans for a long time much less July
*Fight Island is in the plans and White said Americans may fight on it

**During an Instagram Live chat with Jon Anik, UFC lightweight Paul Felder indicated he won’t be retiring yet. Felder lost a razor-close split decision to Dan Hooker this past February in a fantastic fight. Afterward, he stated this might be his final fight and would have to discuss it with his team. Felder, 34, is 5-2 in over the past three years with one loss occurring when he ventured up to welterweight for a fight with Mike Perry. His list of wins over that stretch includes Charles Oliveira, James Vick, and Edson Barboza.

**During a recent edition of his Phone Booth Fighting podcast, Frank Mir revealed he is now a free agent. Mir explained the terms of his contract to Bellator ended April 1st even though he still has a fight left on it. Mir said he will still going to have that fight with Bellator but is not beholden to any contract currently and classified himself as a free agent. Mir, 40, fought three times for Bellator with losses to Fedor Emelianenko and Javy Ayala in 2018 and last fought in October 2019 defeating Roy Nelson by unanimous decision. Mir has also trained in pro wrestling for over a year and worked Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport show in April 2019.

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